Tag Archives: innovation

Myunghwan Lee’s PhD Proposal: Three Essays on AI Strategies and Innovation

Myunghwan Lee (2023) “Three Essays on AI Strategies and Innovation”, Ph.D. Dissertation Proposal, University of British Columbia. https://sites.google.com/view/myunghwanlee/home

Supervisor: Gene Moo Lee

Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies, along with the explosive growth of digitized data, are transforming many industries and our society. While both academia and industry consider AI closely intertwined with innovation, we still have limited knowledge of the business and economic values of AI on innovation. This three-essay dissertation seeks to address this gap (i) by proposing a novel firm-level measure to identify strategically innovative firms; (ii) by examining how firm-level AI capabilities affect knowledge innovation; and (iii) by investigating the impact of robotics, embodied AI with a physical presence, on operational innovation.

In the first essay, we propose a novel firm-level measure, Strategic Competitive Positioning (SCP), to identify distinctive strategic positioning (i.e., first-movers, second-movers) and competition relationships. Drawing on network theory, we develop a structural hole-based, dynamic, and firm-specific SCP measure. Notably, this SCP measure is constructed using unsupervised machine-learning and network analytics approaches with minimal human intervention. Using a large dataset of 10-K annual reports from 13,476 public firms in the U.S., we demonstrate the value of the proposed measure by examining the impact of SCP on subsequent IPO performance.

In the second essay, we study the impact of firm-level AI capabilities on exploratory innovation to determine how AI’s value-creation process can facilitate knowledge innovation. Drawing on March and Simon (1958), we theorize how AI capabilities can help firms overcome bounded rationality and pursue exploratory innovation. We compiled a unique dataset consisting of 54,649 AI conference publications, 3 million patent filings, and 1.9 million inter-firm transactions to test the hypotheses. The findings show that a firm’s AI capabilities have a positive impact on exploratory innovation, and interestingly that conventional exploratory innovation-seeking approaches (e.g., traditional data management capabilities and inter-firm technology collaborations) negatively moderate the positive impact of AI capabilities on exploratory innovation.

The impact of AI technologies can be beyond knowledge innovation. Embodied AI technologies, specifically robotics, are driving operational innovation in manufacturing and service industries. While industrial robots designed for pre-defined tasks in controlled environments are extensively studied, little is known about the impact of AI-based service robots designed for customer-facing dynamic environments. In the third essay, we seek to examine how service robots can affect operational efficiency and service quality using the case of the hospitality industry. The preliminary results from a difference-in-differences model using a dataset of 4,610 restaurants in Singapore demonstrate that service robot adoption increases customer satisfaction, specifically through perceived service quality. To validate the initial result and further explore underlying mechanisms, we plan to collect additional datasets from different geographic areas and industries.


Disrupt with AI: The Impact of Deep Learning Capabilities on Exploratory Innovation

Lee, Myunghwan, Victor Cui, Gene Moo Lee. “Disrupt with AI: The Impact of Deep Learning Capabilities on Exploratory Innovation”, AOM 2023

Given the importance of exploratory innovation in fostering firms’ sustainable competitive advantages, firms often depend on technological assets or inter-firm relationships to pursue exploration. Regarded as a general-purpose technology, deep learning (DL)-based artificial intelligence (AI) can be an exploratory innovation-seeking instrument for firms in searching unexplored resources and thereby broadening their boundary. Drawing on the theories of organizational learning and path dependence, we hypothesize the impact of a firm’s DL capabilities on exploratory innovation and how DL capabilities interact with conventional pathbreaking activities such as technical assets and inter-firm relationships. Our empirical investigations, based on a novel DL capabilities measure constructed from comprehensive datasets on AI conferences and patents, show that DL capabilities have positive impacts on exploratory innovation. The results also show that extant technological assets (i.e., structured data management capabilities) and inter-firm relationships remedy the constraints on a firm’s innovation-seeking behaviors and that these path-breaking activities negatively moderate the positive impact of DL capabilities on exploratory innovation. To our knowledge, this is the first large-scale empirical study to investigate how DL affects exploratory innovation, contributing to the emerging literature on AI and innovation.

Ideas are Easy but Execution is Everything: Measuring the Impact of Stated AI Strategies and Capability on Firm Innovation Performance

Lee, Myunghwan, Gene Moo Lee (2022) “Ideas are Easy but Execution is Everything: Measuring the Impact of Stated AI Strategies and Capability on Firm Innovation Performance”Work-in-Progress.

Contrary to the promise that AI will transform various industries, there are conflicting views on the impact of AI on firm performance. We argue that existing AI capability measures have two major limitations, limiting our understanding of the impact of AI in business. First, existing measures on AI capability do not distinguish between stated strategies and actual AI implementations. To distinguish stated AI strategy and actual AI capability, we collect various AI-related data sources, including AI conferences (e.g., NeurIPS, ICML, ICLR), patent filings (USPTO), inter-firm transactions related to AI adoption (FactSet), and AI strategies stated in 10-K annual reports. Second, while prior studies identified successful AI implementation factors (e.g., data integrity and intelligence augmentation) in a general context, little is known about the relationship between AI capabilities and in-depth innovation performance. We draw on the neo-institutional theory to articulate the firm-level AI strategies and construct a fine-grained AI capability measure that captures the unique characteristics of AI-strategy. Using our newly proposed AI capability measure and a novel dataset, we will study the impact of AI on firm innovation, contributing to the nascent literature on managing AI.